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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 235 pages of information about The Poems of Henry Van Dyke.

November, 1909.

THE VALLEY OF VAIN VERSES

  The grief that is but feigning,
  And weeps melodious tears
  Of delicate complaining
  From self-indulgent years;
  The mirth that is but madness,
  And has no inward gladness
  Beneath its laughter straining,
  To capture thoughtless ears;

  The love that is but passion
  Of amber-scented lust;
  The doubt that is but fashion;
  The faith that has no trust;
  These Thamyris disperses,
  In the Valley of Vain Verses
  Below the Mount Parnassian,—­
  And they crumble into dust.

MUSIC

MUSIC

I

PRELUDE

1

    Daughter of Psyche, pledge of that wild night
    When, pierced with pain and bitter-sweet delight,
    She knew her Love and saw her Lord depart,
    Then breathed her wonder and her woe forlorn
    Into a single cry, and thou wast born! 
    Thou flower of rapture and thou fruit of grief;
    Invisible enchantress of the heart;
      Mistress of charms that bring relief
      To sorrow, and to joy impart
    A heavenly tone that keeps it undefined,—­
        Thou art the child
      Of Amor, and by right divine
        A throne of love is thine,
  Thou flower-folded, golden-girdled, star-crowned Queen,
  Whose bridal beauty mortal eyes have never seen!

2

    Thou art the Angel of the pool that sleeps,
    While peace and joy lie hidden in its deeps,
    Waiting thy touch to make the waters roll
    In healing murmurs round the weary soul. 
      Ah, when wilt thou draw near,
    Thou messenger of mercy robed in song? 
    My lonely heart has listened for thee long;
      And now I seem to hear
  Across the crowded market-place of life,
    Thy measured foot-fall, ringing light and clear
  Above unmeaning noises and unruly strife. 
      In quiet cadence, sweet and slow,
      Serenely pacing to and fro,
    Thy far-off steps are magical and dear,—­
    Ah, turn this way, come close and speak to me! 
  From this dull bed of languor set my spirit free,
  And bid me rise, and let me walk awhile with thee.

II

INVOCATION

Where wilt thou lead me first? 
In what still region
Of thy domain,
Whose provinces are legion,
Wilt thou restore me to myself again,
And quench my heart’s long thirst? 
I pray thee lay thy golden girdle down,
And put away thy starry crown: 
For one dear restful hour
Assume a state more mild. 
Clad only in thy blossom-broidered gown
That breathes familiar scent of many a flower,
Take the low path that leads through pastures green;
And though thou art a Queen,
Be Rosamund awhile, and in thy bower,
By tranquil love and simple joy beguiled,
Sing to my soul, as mother to her child.

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